The Center set up a full-fledged Training Desk in 1994, in response to demands from reporters and editors for seminars responsive to the needs of beat reporters, the media's frontline workers. PCIJ seminars go beyond the basic theoretical inputs provided by journalism textbooks. Instead, they focus on actual problems confronted by reporters, including evaluating sources; verifying data and gathering evidence; ethical conduct between source and reporter; and access to information.
The Center tries as much as possible to combine inputs on journalistic craft, particularly investigative reporting techniques, with substantive inputs on particular areas of concern, such as the environment or local governance. It also uses these seminars to foster frank exchanges between journalists and officials, particularly on such issues as freedom of information, access to documents, and the rights of journalists.
To complement its training efforts, the PCIJ publishes reporting manuals. In 1997, it launched Uncovering the Beat, a guide for reporters covering key government agencies. The guide includes tips on accessing public documents and understanding how various government entities work. The same year, The Electronic Trail, a pioneering guide to computer-assisted research and reporting in the Philippines, was published.
The PCIJ's first seminar series, which took place from 1994 to 1995, was designed to enhance the media's capability to audit government, including the policy-making agencies of the executive branch, the legislature, the justice system, and agencies delivering basic services. In 1996, the Center held seminars on investigating local governments for community journalists.
Since 1995, the PCIJ has conducted seminars on computer-assisted reporting. These are aimed at helping journalists make maximum use of information technology for their work. In 1997 and 1998, the Center held a series of workshops on "Investigative Reporting and the 1998 Elections." In 1999-2000, it completed three 10-day training courses on "Investigating Corruption." These seminars aimed to raise knowledge of the history, context, forms and consequences of corruption and to enhance the skills needed to undertake investigative reporting on corruption issues.
For 2000-2001, the PCIJ will conduct a series of five-day courses aimed at helping journalists become more effective trainers, particularly in investigative reporting. In 2001, courses on basic and advanced investigative reporting courses will be offered. In addition, a dialog with editors on the obstacles to investigative reporting and courses to address the needs of campus journalists, school paper advisers and non-journalists are being planned.
Since the late 1990s, the PCIJ has conducted seminars for journalists in the Asia-Pacific region. Two regional seminarsó"Corruption and Governance in Asia" and "Overcoming Obstacles to Access to Information in Southeast Asia"ówere held in the Philippines in 1998 and 1999. The Center has also sent investigative reporting trainers to Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand.
In addition to its own training programs, the Center assists newspapers and broadcast networks in the design and implementation of in-house courses for their staff.